A man and a woman have been jailed after attempting to meet a 14-year-old girl for sex at Northampton's train station.
Stephen John Longhurst, 37, of no fixed abode, and Natalie Bourne, 30, of Stourton Road, Birmingham, travelled to Northampton train station to meet what they thought was a 14-year-old girl on August 1.
What they didn’t realise however, was that the girl they had been talking to, ‘Emily’, wasn’t real, and instead had been created by an online child abuse activist group to trap them.
Longhurst began talking to ‘Emily’ on Facebook, sending her inappropriate messages, photos and videos, before booking a hotel room and inviting her to meet with him.
He then introduced ‘Emily’ online to Bourne, who also sent inappropriate messages and photos of herself to the girl.
After telling ‘Emily’ to lie to her mother that she was staying with friends, Longhurst and Bourne then made arrangements to meet her at Northampton train station so they could make their way to the hotel room they had paid for.
However, the group who had been pretending to be ‘Emily’ all along then informed police officers who arrived at the station and arrested the pair, before charging them with a number of offences.
Both Longhurst and Bourne pleaded guilty to arranging/facilitating the commission of a child sex offence, attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and attempting to meet a girl under 16 years of age following grooming. Longhurst also pleaded guilty to the additional offence of attempting to cause a child aged 13-15 to watch/look at an image of sexual activity.
Longhurst was jailed for six years for the offences while Bourne was jailed for three years. Both were also made the subject of an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order.
Detective Sergeant Helena Congreve, from Northamptonshire Police’s POLIT Team, said: “I’m very pleased to see Longhurst and Bourne given custodial sentences for these very serious offences and that two sexual predators are now off the streets and behind bars.
“Although the girl in this case was a decoy, it does not detract from the extremely shocking fact that two adults very much intended to have sex with a child that day in August.
“Detectives in the POLIT Team work extremely hard every day to bring offenders like Bourne and Longhurst to justice and I hope this case shows just how seriously Northamptonshire Police takes offences against children.”